Re­for­ma­tion has a lot to an­swer for, Nel­son

Belfast Telegraph - - LETTERS -

NEL­SON McCaus­land (“Why we should use the 500th an­niver­sary of the Re­for­ma­tion to rein­vig­o­rate our Chris­tian faith”, Com­ment, Oc­to­ber 5) stated: “The Re­formed faith was firmly es­tab­lished in Ul­ster in the early-17th cen­tury. Scot­tish and English Protes­tants set­tled in Ul­ster as part of the of­fi­cial plan­ta­tion, but even be­fore that many low­land Scots had al­ready set­tled in Antrim and Down.”

What was this so-called “of­fi­cial” plan­ta­tion? Here’s a taste from Russell Jesse’s His­tory of Ire­land 1536-1691: “Ire­land dur­ing the pe­riod 1536-1691 saw the first full con­quest of the is­land by Eng­land and its coloni­sa­tion with Protes­tant set­tlers from Bri­tain. This es­tab­lished two cen­tral themes in fu­ture Ir­ish his­tory: sub­or­di­na­tion of the coun­try to Lon­don-based gov­ern­ments and sec­tar­ian an­i­mos­ity between Catholics and Protes­tants.

“The new King­dom of Ire­land was de­clared by Henry VIII in 1541 and, in 1691, the Ir­ish Catholic Ja­co­bites sur­ren­dered at Lim­er­ick, thus con­firm­ing Bri­tish Protes­tant dom­i­nance in Ire­land.

“The English Re­for­ma­tion, by which Henry VIII broke with Pa­pal author­ity in 1536, was to change Ire­land to­tally. While the English, the Welsh and, later, the Scots ac­cepted Protes­tantism, the Ir­ish re­mained Catholic. The Re­for­ma­tion co­in­cided with a de­ter­mined ef­fort by the English state to re-con­quer and colonise Ire­land. The re­li­gious schism meant that the na­tive Ir­ish and the Old English were to be ex­cluded from power un­less they con­verted to Protes­tantism.”

As Nel­son said, it’s time to rein­vig­o­rate our Chris­tian faith. What­ever that has to do with steal­ing a neighbour’s land. Here we stand — two hos­tile camps locked in per­pet­ual con­flict. Bri­tain has a lot to an­swer for.


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